MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has found himself in the middle of the latest right-wing media battle for MAGA viewership.
In a cynical attempt to hamstring one of its main competitors, fringe cable channel One America News this week accused fellow pro-Trump outlet Newsmax of “being swept up by leftist censorship” after Newsmax anchor Bob Sellers stormed out of an interview when Lindell wouldn’t stop peddling voter fraud conspiracies.
The pillow mogul, who helped bankroll futile pro-Trump lawsuits to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, has been the face of a dead-ender movement still holding onto the “Big Lie” that the election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump. A week after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, he even visited Trump at the White House to sell Trump on another round of unproven election conspiracies, only to be sent packing by lawyers.
In a segment that first aired on OAN on Wednesday, host Jenn Pellegrino first noted that Lindell is “one of the latest targets” of “Big Tech oligarchs halting the flow of information to benefit their agendas.” Last month, the pillow salesman was permanently banned from Twitter for repeatedly violating the social-media platform’s policy of spreading election disinformation.
After playing a clip of Sellers interrupting Lindell and literally walking off the set, Pellegrino told OAN viewers to “watch as Newsmax censors Mike Lindell.” (Besides Sellers begging producers to “get out” of the interview, Lindell’s microphone was also turned down by the control room as the anchor read a statement that the election was “legal and certified” and Newsmax could not verify any allegations that voting machines flipped votes from Trump.)
“This wasn’t the first time Lindell was muzzled while appearing on Newsmax,” Pellegrino added, playing a clip of guest-host Sebastian Gorka stopping Lindell in his tracks as he attempted to push Dominion conspiracies.
Gorka stepping in occurred hours after Newsmax forced its hosts to deliver on-air statements debunking its voting machine lies. The fact-check segments were prompted by a legal threat and demand for retraction by Smartmatic, another voting technology company that has been caught up in the Trump-backed election conspiracies.
“Lindell, who has invested his own resources into uncovering voting irregularities, recounts the most recent interview with the network,” Pellegrino noted before airing comments from Lindell.
“They sent a memo to my assistant not to say anything about the machines and the election fraud,” Lindell told OAN. Dominion, which has already filed billion-dollar defamation lawsuits against Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, has also threatened to sue Lindell, Newsmax, OAN, and Fox News over the false claims they’ve made about the company. On Thursday afternoon, Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Giuliani, Powell, and Fox hosts Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and Maria Bartiromo.
“Newsmax touts itself as real news for real people,” OAN host Pellegrino declared in his screed. “But is this yet another case of a so-called ‘fair and unbiased’ network being swept up by leftist censorship?”
He then aired more remarks from Lindell, who said “there’s these energies out there that want to stop the public from hearing and giving information” and that “they must sit up in a war room and say, ‘Who are we going to destroy?’” He further claimed he’s not in his home state now because he feels threatened.
Newsmax, meanwhile, has already issued a groveling apology to Lindell, who also happens to be one of the network’s biggest sponsors.
Taking full blame for any “confusion” that occurred during their interview, Sellers said on Wednesday that “Mike is a friend of the network” and that he was merely “frustrated that we couldn’t focus on the current, very pressing issue of free speech and cancel culture and, in hindsight, there is no question that I could have handled the end of the interview differently.”
The Newsmax anchor concluded: “Mike also made clear he thinks Newsmax is ‘great’—his words—and I can tell you he will continue to be an important guest on Newsmax.”
OAN, for its part, has publicly doubled down on the baseless conspiracy theories that Dominion and Smartmatic were involved in a nefarious international plot involving dead Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez and liberal philanthropist George Soros to steal millions of votes from Trump.
At the same time, however, the outlet has quietly deleted articles and references to Dominion and Smartmatic from its website in an apparent effort to fend off any impending lawsuits.